Scuttlebutt: Slang for rumor or gossip, deriving from the nautical term for the cask used to serve water (or, later, a water fountain) where sailors would often gather and share news or gossip.
Planning for your pet article featuring Carol Santora and our firm.
Time to make your pet’s estate plan?
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Carol Santora sits with her two dogs, Dixie and Biscuit, who are already taken care of in the event something should happen to her. Santora planned for her pets’s future with help from attorney Smilie Rogers, who will do a free seminar on Planning For Your Pet 2:30 to 4 pm Sunday, April 14 at It’s A Dog’s World Training Center, 3 White Birch Lane in York.
YORK, Maine — Carol and Dave Santora already know that their son, living in South Carolina, is not going to want their rescue dogs if they should outlive their devoted owners.
Their son already has a dog and anyway, Biscuit and Dixie have their quirks. Biscuit, a 6-year-old Golden Retriever, is very protective and tends to bark a lot if the wrong person comes along. Dixie, a 6-year-old Walker Coonhound, howls, bays and barks the way any good hunting dog would.
The Santoras, though, do not want to leave their pets’ future to chance. They have joined the growing ranks of pet owners who are setting up trusts, wills or other plans to make sure there are provisions, should these four-legged friends outlive them.
“I got really nervous about it because I don’t think anyone in my family would want my dogs,” said Carol recently.
So Carol, a former nurse, and Dave, a former machinist who drives a truck now, hired an estate planning attorney, Smilie Rogers of York, to help with estate planning that included the dogs.
“We did paperwork so that the dogs would go to the Animal Welfare Society in West Kennebunk, Carol said” The couple left money to the shelter to give to whoever adopts the dog, and spent some time writing down the dogs’ routines and quirks.
“Someone may not have the money but may really, really want a dog and then find out all they have to do is bring these slips to the Animal Society for the grooming and vets bills and whatever they need,” explained Carol.
To respond to the growing interest in estate planning for pets, Rogers will be holding a free seminar from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 14 at It’s A Dog’s World Training Center at 3 White Birch Lane in York, which is owned by State Sen. Dawn Hill.
Anyone who attends the 90-minute talk will be given a discount on the flat fee Rogers charges for document preparation.
“I want to encourage people to plan for their pets,” said Rogers, who owns a 15-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Ollie and knows how attached people can get to the animals in their life.
Until recently, Rogers noted, there was no law set up in Maine to allow for making dogs or other pets trustees. But now, Maine Title 18-B, Chapter 408 specifically addresses “Trust for care of animal” and Chapter 409 specifically addresses “noncharitable trust without ascertainable beneficiary”.
The law leaves no stone unturned with subsections addressing problems of excess funds; of inefficient care of the animal; of terminating the trust on death.
At his seminar, Rogers will explain the advantages of creating a trust fund versus just leaving the money outright to a trusted person to take care of the animal.
For instance, a trust allows a pet owner to appoint a caregiver and backup caregivers to provide care for a pet after a person dies. It allows for a trustee to make sure the caregiver is doing his or her job and to manage the funds left for the pet. And it allows someone to assign a life insurance policy to provide for a pet.
Although pet estate planning is not central to Rogers’ business, he believes it is important for people to take their animals into consideration when they make plans. Rogers asks pet owners if they have left instructions, have written out descriptions of the animals and even whether they have cards in their wallets that indicate they have pets.
And if a trust for Fido or Spot, or Black Beauty, for that matter, does not seem like the best option, there are alternatives, Roger said. Pet owners can give money to a specific person, with the condition that the money is to be used for a pet’s care. Or an owner can leave a pet to a specific person, along with the money to care for the pet.
The Santoras specified in their will that they wanted the ashes of all their dogs, some that have already been cremated, spread with theirs when they die.
For the Santoras, planning for their animals has been central to their estate planning. They have divided their estate into three parts — divided between the Animal Welfare Society, the Ever After Mustang Rescue in Biddeford and their son.
“I volunteer three days a week at the Mustang place and sponsor a horse,” said Carol. She is thinking of amending her will so that the money given to the Mustang Rescue will include funds specifically earmarked for the Mustang she sponsors.
“If you don’t have someone to be responsible, if there is nobody to think about them after they are gone, it’s hard,” she said. “We want to make sure someone cares for them. It gives you piece of mind. “
For more information at 207-361-4680 or email@example.com.
Appears at: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130413/GJBUSINESS_01/130419632/0/FOSREGION
Snow, snow and more snow
Snow, snow and more snow.
January 2013 - Happy New Year!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 23, 2013
Contact: Barbara Redmond
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap Issues Important Consumer Alert for Corporate and Non-profit Entities
Corporate Records Service Scam
The Secretary of State's office has received calls regarding the legitimacy of solicitations that are being mailed to numerous Maine corporations from a company named Corporate Records Service. These solicitations urge corporations to file information and send payment in the amount of $125.00 by a certain date in order to complete corporate meeting minutes on behalf of the corporation.
These solicitations also include statute citations regarding corporate records and annual meetings. At first glance, this solicitation may look official; however, some of the information being requested is not required to be filed with the Secretary of State. Maine corporations are not required to file corporate minutes with the Secretary of State's office. We want to alert all entities of this deceptive solicitation to prevent entities from feeling compelled to complete the form and send payment to a mailing center post office box address by the deadline on the form.
Annual Reports are required to be filed with the Secretary of State's office on or before June 1st of each year. Secretary Dunlap encourages all entities on record with the Secretary of State's office to review "Filing Requirement Reminders" available on the web at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/corp/helpful.html.
Additionally, please keep in mind that any official notice received from the Secretary of State's office will contain the Maine state seal, the Secretary of State's name, and contact information for the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions.
Please contact the Division of Corporations at 207-624-7752 should you have any questions or concerns regarding these solicitations
IRS Provides Penalty Relief to Farmers and Fishermen
WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service announced today (1-18-2013) that it will issue guidance in the near future to provide relief from the estimated tax penalty for farmers and fishermen unable to file and pay their 2012 taxes by the March 1 deadline due to the delayed start for filing tax returns.
The delay stems from this month’s enactment of the American Taxpayer Relief Act (ATRA). The ATRA affected several tax forms that are often filed by farmers and fishermen, including the Form 4562, Depreciation and Amortization (Including Information on Listed Property). These forms will require extensive programming and testing of IRS systems, which will delay the IRS’s ability to accept and process these forms. The IRS is providing this relief because delays in the agency’s ability to accept and process these forms may affect the ability of many farmers and fishermen to file and pay their taxes by the March 1 deadline. The relief applies to all farmers and fishermen, not only those who must file late released forms.
Normally, farmers and fishermen who choose not to make quarterly estimated tax payments are not subject to a penalty if they file their returns and pay the full amount of tax due by March 1. Under the guidance to be issued, farmers or fishermen who miss the March 1 deadline will not be subject to the penalty if they file and pay by April 15, 2013. A taxpayer qualifies as a farmer or fisherman for tax-year 2012 if at least two-thirds of the taxpayer’s total gross income was from farming or fishing in either 2011 or 2012.
Farmers and fishermen requesting this penalty waiver must attach Form 2210-F to their tax return. The form can be submitted electronically or on paper. The taxpayer’s name and identifying number should be entered at the top of the form, the waiver box (Part I, Box A) should be checked, and the rest of the form should be left blank. Forms, instructions, and other tax assistance are available on IRS.gov.
Tax-Free Transfers to Charity Renewed For IRA Owners 70½ or Older; Rollovers This Month Can Still Count For 2012
IR-2013-6, Jan. 16, 2013
WASHINGTON — Certain owners of individual retirement arrangements (IRAs) have a limited time to make tax-free transfers to eligible charities and have them count for tax-year 2012, the Internal Revenue Service said today.
IRA owners age 70½ or older have until Thursday, Jan. 31, to make a direct transfer, or alternatively, if they received IRA distributions during December 2012, to contribute, in cash, part or all of the amounts received to an eligible charity.
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, enacted Jan. 2, extended for 2012 and 2013 the provision authorizing qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) — otherwise taxable distributions from an IRA owned by someone, 70½ or older, paid directly to an eligible charitable organization. Each year, the IRA owner can exclude from gross income up to $100,000 of these QCDs. First available in 2006, this provision had expired at the end of 2011.
The QCD option is available regardless of whether an eligible IRA owner itemizes deductions on Schedule A. Transferred amounts are not taxable and no deduction is available for the transfer. QCDs are counted in determining whether the IRA owner has met his or her IRA required minimum distributions for the year.
For tax year 2012 only, IRA owners can choose to report QCDs made in January 2013 as if they occurred in 2012. In addition, IRA owners who received IRA distributions during December 2012 can contribute, in cash, part or all of the amounts distributed to eligible charities during January 2013 and have them count as 2012 QCDs.
QCDs are reported on Form 1040 Line 15. The full amount of the QCD is shown on Line 15a. Do not enter any of these amounts on Line 15b but write “QCD” next to that line. Details are on IRS.gov.
Asset Protection Planning - Things get murky under the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act!: Jay Adkisson reviews
Kilker v. Stillman, 2012 WL 5902348 (Cal.App. 4 Dist., Unpublished, Nov. 26, 2012), full Opinion at http://goo.gl/utZ5z, in http://www.forbes.com/sites/jayadkisson/2012/11/30/kilker/
President passes the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. We have created a new page on our website to review pertinent aspects of this new law. Click here to go to that page.
Annual Inflation Adjustments for 2013
The Internal Revenue Service announced today annual inflation adjustments for tax year 2013, including the tax rate schedules, and other tax changes from the recently passed American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
The tax items for 2013 of greatest interest to most taxpayers include the following changes.
- Beginning in tax year 2013 (generally for tax returns filed in 2014), a new tax rate of 39.6 percent has been added for individuals whose income exceeds $400,000 ($450,000 for married taxpayers filing a joint return). The other marginal rates — 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent — remain the same as in prior years. The guidance contains the taxable income thresholds for each of the marginal rates.
- The standard deduction rises to $6,100 ($12,200 for married couples filing jointly), up from $5,950 ($11,900 for married couples filing jointly) for tax year 2012.
- The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 added a limitation for itemized deductions claimed on 2013 returns of individuals with incomes of $250,000 or more ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly).
- The personal exemption rises to $3,900, up from the 2012 exemption of $3,800. However beginning in 2013, the exemption is subject to a phase-out that begins with adjusted gross incomes of $150,000 ($300,000 for married couples filing jointly). It phases out completely at $211,250 ($422,500 for married couples filing jointly.)
- The Alternative Minimum Tax exemption amount for tax year 2013 is $51,900 ($80,800, for married couples filing jointly), set by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, which indexes future amounts for inflation. The 2012 exemption amount was $50,600 ($78,750 for married couples filing jointly).
- The maximum Earned Income Credit amount is $6,044 for taxpayers filing jointly who have 3 or more qualifying children, up from a total of $5,891 for tax year 2012.
- Estates of decedents who die during 2013 have a basic exclusion amount of $5,250,000, up from a total of $5,120,000 for estates of decedents who died in 2012.
- For tax year 2013, the monthly limitation regarding the aggregate fringe benefit exclusion amount for transit passes and transportation in a commuter highway vehicle is $245, up from $240 for tax year 2012 (the legislation provided a retroactive increase from the $125 limit that had been in place).
Details on these inflation adjustments and others are contained in Revenue Procedure 2013-15, which will be published in Internal Revenue Bulletin 2013-5 on Jan.28, 2013. Other inflation adjusted items were published in October 2012 in Revenue Procedure 2012-41.
Life and Death Online: Who Controls A Digital Legacy?
This is an interesting and probing article from the Wall Street Journal's weekend (Jan 5-6) paper. Who should control your digital identity and information after you die? Do you want your online files or accounts deleted? How can you preserve your online legacy? Does your agent under a power of attorney have the power to access, open, or close your online accounts? How about the Personal Representative of your estate?
IRS Return Filing Freeze
According to an alert sent out by the IRS, due to late tax law changes, the 2013 filing season for processing individual income tax returns will begin on January 30, 2013.Certain tax returns will not be accepted, either electronically or on paper, until later in the filing season. Details on affected forms are in IRS News Release IR- 2013-2. EROs and Online Providers may hold tax returns containing one or more of these forms until the IRS can accept them. EROs and Online Providers must advise taxpayers that the returns will not be e-filed until the IRS can accept the returns beginning January 30. Clearly explain to the taxpayer that this means the period for processing the return and/or checking the taxpayer's refund status cannot begin before January 31, 2013.
Identity theft and the IRS - See http://www.irs.gov/uac/Protect-Yourself-from-Identity-Theft-1
Identity theft occurs when someone uses another’s personal information without their permission to commit fraud or other crimes using the victim’s name, Social Security number or other identifying information. When it comes to federal taxes, taxpayers may not be aware they have become victims of identity theft until they receive a letter from the Internal Revenue Service stating more than one tax return was filed with their information or that IRS records show wages from an employer the taxpayer has not worked for in the past.
The IRS has announced the availability of additional information for taxpayers caught by identity theft as part of a larger, comprehensive identity theft strategy focused on fraud protection and victim assistance.
The IRS has created a special section on IRS.gov dedicated to identity theft matters, including tips for taxpayers and a special guide to assistance ranging from contacting the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit to tips to protect against “phishing” schemes. The IRS also is taking a number of additional steps this tax season to prevent identity theft and detect refund fraud before it occurs.
Fighting identity theft will be an ongoing battle, as identity thieves continue to create new ways of stealing personal information and using it for their gain. Identity theft cases are among the most complex handled by the IRS. The IRS is continually reviewing processes and policies to minimize the incidence of identity theft and to help those who find themselves victimized by it.
If a taxpayer receives a notice from the IRS indicating identity theft, they should follow the instructions in that notice. A taxpayer who believes they are at risk of identity theft due to lost or stolen personal information should contact the IRS immediately so the agency can take action to secure their tax account. The taxpayer should contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. The taxpayer will be asked to complete the IRS Identity Theft Affidavit, Form 14039, and follow the instructions on the back of the form based on their situation.
Over the past year, the IRS has developed a comprehensive identity theft strategy that is focused on preventing, detecting and resolving identity theft cases as soon as possible. This occurs as the IRS continues to balance delivering tax refunds in the intended timeframe while ensuring that appropriate compliance controls are in place to minimize errors and fraud.
The IRS is taking a number of steps to prevent identity theft, and detect and stop identity theft attempts. This includes designing new identity theft screening filters that will improve the IRS’s ability to spot false returns before they are processed and before a refund is issued, as well as placing identity theft indicators on taxpayer accounts to track and manage identity theft incidents. IRS Criminal Investigation, in partnership with other law enforcement agencies, is also diligent in investigating criminals who perpetrate these crimes.
A pilot program begun in 2010 to mark the accounts of deceased taxpayers to prevent misuse by identity thieves is expanding. The IRS has also expanded an initiative this year to protect victims with previously confirmed cases of identity theft. In late 2011, a group of taxpayers received a special Identity Protection Personal Identification Number, or IP PIN, for use in filing their tax returns for this filing season. The IRS is additionally working to speed up case resolution, provide more training for employees who assist victims of identity theft, and step up outreach to taxpayers.
Taxpayers looking for additional information can consult the Taxpayer Guide to Identity Theft or the IRS Identity Theft Protection page on the IRS website.
POPULAR MECHANICS | NOVEMBER 14, 2012
**The Claim** Asking a persistently vegetative patient a question while his head is in a brain-scan machine, doctors think they can interpret answers.
If doctors could speak to "talk" to you while you were in a vetative state, would you still want your end of life decisions carried out under an Advance Health Care Directive (also called a Living Will)?
Sorry Charlie but the IRS disagrees with Wandry's magic wand in AOD for T.C. Memo 2012-88.
In Wandry v. Commissioner,T.C. Memo 2012-88, the US Tax Court issued a memorandum opinion upholding the use of a defined value formula provision to make gifts of units in a LLC. The formual in Wandry further provided for an adjustment of the number of gifted units in the event the IRS challenged the valuation used so that the number value of the units gifted to each person would equal the dollar amount that was intended to be given away.
In its AOD (Action on Decision) for Wandry v. Commissioner, T.C. Memo 2012-88, the IRS reported that it does not acquiesce to the Tax Court's decision in Wandry which held that fixed dollar gifts of LLC interests were not void as against public policy. This AOD is rather strange given the fact that the IRS just recently voluntarily withdrew its appeal of Wandry. I had assumed that Wandry was too good to be true and was surprised that the Tax Court issued this case as a T.C. Memo or memorandum opinion which is issued by a single judge rather than as a reviewed opinion which is decided on by the entire Tax Court. Generally, cases that are considered settled law or that are not novel are more likely to appear as a memorandum opinion. Wandry certainly seemed to be the type of case that the Tax Court would issue as a reviewed opinion but instead it was issued as a memorandum opinion. The IRS's withdraw of its appeal of that case followed closely by this AOD suggests to me that either the IRS will not give up its attack on Wandry like cases but is fishing for a case with better facts, or the simply intends to issue new regulations on the issue to wipe out this taxpayer gain.
While many may be inclined to move ahead and make use of Wandry, I would suggest caution given the IRS's AOD and the fact that the opinion of the Tax Court was in the form of a memorandum opinion and not a reviewed opinion. Even a 10th Circuit Court decision on this isssue (any appeal in Wandry would have been to the 10th Circuit) would be binding precedent on the Tax Court in another Circuit, such as the 1st Circuit of which Maine is a part, due to Golsen v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, 54 T.C. 742 (1970) (aff'd on other issues 445 F.2d 985 (10th Cir. 1971)), (referred to as the Golsen Rule) which rule provides that the Tax Court may render different decisions, based on identical situations, for taxpayers that are only differentiated by where they live. Point is, the judicial decisions in play in your particular Circuit matter when you petition the Tax Court and so far there have been no Circuit decisions on facts similar to Wandry. Who wants to be the next test case?
Primer: How Will The Election Change Medicaid?
By: Phil Galewitz and Kaiser Health News
The future of Medicaid -- the state-federal workhorse of the nation's health system that provides health coverage to the poorest and sickest Americans -- hangs in the balance on Election Day.
President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney have vastly different approaches to the program. Medicaid is the backbone of the 2010 health law -- considered Obama's signature legislative achievement -- which, starting in 2014, expands coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans. As many as 17 million of those newly insured citizens will be on Medicaid. Romney would turn over much control of the program to states and give them new powers to tailor benefits and eligibility to their own budget needs. Romney says such a move would begin saving $100 billion per year by 2016.
The following list of "frequently asked questions" provides more details on the presidential candidates' plans for Medicaid.
Tune in to the PBS NewsHour on Monday evening for Hari Sreenivasan's full report on the role Medicaid plays in the U.S. health care system -- especially for seniors living in nursing care facilities -- and how the proposals outlined by the candidates could impact the program.
What is Medicaid?
Created in 1965, Medicaid is jointly financed by the federal government and the states. States administer the program but the federal government sets minimum income and eligibility thresholds, targeting low-income children and their parents, the elderly and people with disabilities. It also sets minimum benefits that state Medicaid plans must provide. States can build on these requirements and, as a result, eligibility rules vary widely. The program now covers about 60 million Americans, of which about half are children. Medicaid pays for nearly two-thirds of nursing home residents and about 40 percent of births.
Medicaid is an open-ended entitlement program in which the federal government matches state spending on health insurance. Match rates range from 50 percent to 73 percent, depending on a state's per capita income, with poorer states receiving higher rates. The average federal match is 57 percent.
How does President Obama's health care reform law change Medicaid?
The 2010 law eliminates varying eligibility rules and, starting in 2014, provides Medicaid coverage to everyone with incomes less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which today is nearly $31,000 for a family of three.
This expansion could add as many as 17 million people to Medicaid over the next decade if all states adopt the change. Most of the newly eligible would be adults without children who currently are not covered in most states.
The Supreme Court ruling which upheld the health care reform law made this expansion optional for states. Several Republican governors have already said they would not take the extra federal money to expand the program.
Under the law, the federal government pays the full cost for those newly eligible for Medicaid from 2014 to 2016, then states have to begin to contribute to the cost but no more than 10 percent by 2020. States will receive their current federal funding match rate for people currently eligible.
What has Mitt Romney proposed for Medicaid?
Romney wants to overturn the health law and the Medicaid expansion. Instead, he proposes converting the program into a block grant to states -- a fixed annual allotment of money. Payments from the federal government would grow at 1 percentage point above inflation a year, which would slow funding, in exchange for fewer federal rules on how states can use the money.
According to the Romney campaign, the block-grant approach will save an estimated $100 billion per year by 2016.
Repealing the health care reform law would reduce Medicaid spending by $618 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and Romney's additional cuts would mean a total of at least $1.4 trillion in cuts over a decade.
Such a cut would be even more than the plan for Medicaid that passed the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill that was authored by House budget chairman and vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan.
The House plan to block grant Medicaid would curtail Medicaid spending by $810 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In 2022, federal Medicaid funding would be about 34 percent less than states would receive under current law, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Under Ryan's block grant proposal, between 14 million and 27 million fewer people would be covered in 2021 than under Medicaid as it currently exists, according to an Urban Institute analysis. With less money, states are certain to reduce benefits and ask recipients to pay more for care, among other changes.
Which states have the most to gain under the Obama administration's Medicaid plans?
Florida, Texas, Mississippi and other states that have traditionally had the tightest eligibility for Medicaid and a large percentage of uninsured citizens have the most to gain under the federal health law. But these states are among those saying they won't expand Medicaid because they don't think they'll have money to pay their share starting in 2017. They also worry that the health law would increase their Medicaid costs as people who were previously eligible but not enrolled would sign up. Under this scenario, the state would have to pay its share of the costs for these people because their eligibility does not result from the health law. States such as Vermont that already cover residents up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level in Medicaid would not gain much new funding.
What would states do with more flexibility if, as Romney wants, Medicaid becomes a block grant?
In tough economic times -- when Medicaid is most needed but when state revenues are squeezed -- states could be expected to tighten eligibility or reduce benefits. The Obama administration has given states the ability to cut optional Medicaid benefits such as vision and dental services and prescription drugs. But the administration has been reticent to allow states to shift higher costs on Medicaid recipients or force them to pay premiums or large-co pays for services. If the program turned into a block grant, states would likely have more freedom to shift higher costs onto recipients or make it harder for them to sign up.
Are there enough doctors to handle 17 million more Medicaid recipients under the health care reform law?
The safety net would feel some strain, though it still has a few years to get ready as not everyone would sign up immediately. Today, approximately 69 percent of doctors nationally accept new Medicaid patients, but the rate varies widely across the country, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New Jersey had the nation's lowest rate at 40 percent, while Wyoming had the highest, at 99 percent.
To increase the number of providers the health law does two things: It spends $11 billion to expand community health centers, which provide primary care to millions of Medicaid recipients. The law also gives a pay raise to primary care physicians treating Medicaid patients. In 2013 and 2014, primary care physicians would be paid at Medicare rates, which equates to about a 30 percent average pay hike nationally.
How much will it cost to add 17 million to Medicaid and how can the nation even afford it?
The Medicaid expansion makes up a big chunk of the health law's $930 billion price tag over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. But the money won't increase the federal budget deficit because the law is being funded by new taxes and penalties. These include a new excise tax on high-premium insurance (Cadillac) plans, equal to 40 percent of premiums paid on plans costing more than $27,500 annually for a family, starting in 2018; an increase in Medicare payroll taxes on couples with income of more than $250,000 a year; and new fees on insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers.
Why can't states experiment with new health care delivery methods with Medicaid now?
Actually, they can and they are. Dozens of states in recent years have hired private managed care firms such as Aetna or United Healthcare to cover millions of Medicaid recipients, and the trend is expected to continue regardless of who wins the election. States are also experimenting with such things as bundling payment to hospitals and doctors, establishing medical homes where doctors' offices are paid to coordinate patient care for those with chronic illnesses and forming accountable care organizations that allow providers to share in savings if they can meet certain quality measures. While the federal government has to approve state experiments, what often hinders their efforts is getting consensus from stakeholders such as nursing homes, hospitals, physicians and consumer advocates.
Why should those who don't know anyone on Medicaid care about the candidates' positions?
No one knows when they will lose their job and health benefits and have to rely on Medicaid for themselves or their children. While the program pays for 60 percent of nursing home residents, most of them only become eligible after depleting their savings to pay for the care. Most hospitals are also heavily reliant on Medicaid funds so their ability to remain financially healthy depends on the program. Medicaid is also an economic engine in most states as the money goes to doctors, device makers, durable medical equipment makers and others.
Why is Medicaid such a hot issue this year?
Medicaid costs have risen markedly in the past several years due largely to the economic downturn, and the program is in the crosshairs of Capitol Hill deficit hawks. At the state level, Medicaid is usually the first or second costliest program and many governors have been asking for more flexibility to rein in spending. Since 2009, when Congress gave states billions dollars of extra Medicaid funding in the federal stimulus law, the federal government has required states to maintain current eligibility levels. The provision was continued in the 2010 federal health law, though it expires in 2014.
The Cliff Hanger!
Bush-Era Tax Cuts May Expire as Step to Budget Deal, Tyson Says
Bush-era tax cuts may be allowed to expire at the end of the year as a prelude to an agreement on the budget, according to Laura Tyson, an economics professor who advises President Barack Obama on the labor market.
An expiration “is the major scenario right now,” Tyson, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley and a member of Obama’s jobs advisory board, said in an interview today with Bloomberg News editors and reporters in Washington.
Tyson played down the impact of such a step on the economy, saying the tax cuts could be reinstated later and made retroactive to the start of 2013. The expiration though might help “force” through a deal on the budget, she said.
The Berkeley economist took Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney to task for criticizing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and said the financial-services industry is undergoing a “secular” change that would restrict its profits during the next decade.
The income-tax reductions that were first pushed through in 2001 and 2003 by former President George W. Bush are the biggest single item in the so-called fiscal cliff -- a mix of more than $600 billion of tax increases and government spending cuts that will go into effect next year if Congress does nothing.
House Speaker John Boehner said on Sept. 11 that he was “not confident at all” that Congress will reach a deal on avoiding the fiscal cliff and blamed Obama and the Democratic- controlled Senate for the impasse.
Tyson, who served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, said the “tone may change” on Capitol Hill if Republicans lose seats in the Nov. 6 election.
“The willingness to deal might change,” Tyson said, adding, “I’m optimistic” there will be an agreement. She said she’s unsure whether that will occur later this year or early in 2013.
There’s little appetite in Washington for providing much in the way of stimulus for the economy, Tyson said. Some small measures though might be discussed in the context of negotiations on the fiscal cliff, including extending and possibly broadening the 2 percent payroll-tax cut due to expire at year-end, according to Tyson.
The economics professor said the Fed “did the right thing” last week in deciding to expand its holdings of long- term securities in a third round of quantitative easing.
The move showed that central-bank policy makers “are seriously worried about the economy,” she said. Growth slowed to a 1.7 percent annual rate in the second quarter from 4.1 percent in the final three months of last year, and the jobless rate has been stuck above 8 percent since February 2009.
Romney criticized the Fed’s action, saying it would do more harm than good, and repeated his determination to replace Bernanke as Fed Chairman when his term expires in January 2014.
“I would criticize the Romney campaign for attacking the Fed and the Fed chair,” Tyson said, adding that politicians in general should refrain from bashing the independent central bank.
Tyson, who is on the board of Morgan Stanley (MS), said the financial-services industry is undergoing a structural change in the aftermath of the recent crisis. Companies are trying to come up with new business models at a time of “very significant” uncertainty about the regulatory regime they face, she said.
It’s unclear how some of the new rules governing the industry, both domestically and internationally, will be implemented, she added.
Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. also are adjusting to being regulated by the Fed after converting into bank holding companies during the crisis, she said. Morgan Stanley is the sixth-largest U.S. bank by assets and Goldman the fifth largest. Both are located in New York.
“People have put their heads down to try to figure out what to do with their own institutions,” she said.
She said she does not see a return to the days before 2007, when the industry’s profits were growing as a share of the economy and as a share of corporate earnings.
“It’s not just cyclical,” she said. “There’s a change in the structure of the industry going on.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Rich Miller in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at email@example.com
Single Member LLCs for Charities Disregarded:
In IRS Notice 2012-52, www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-12-52.pdf, Th the IRS has advised taxpayers that so long as all other requirements of IRC § 170 are met, the IRS will treat a contribution to a disregarded single member LLC as a tax-deductible contribution to the charity for federal income tax purposes.
Alert Beware of Older Massachusetts Estate Planning Documents:
Massachusetts Supreme Court rules that 2009 law making a 1958 law that includes adopted children in the term "children" when used in a Will or trust applicable to all wills and trusts, no matter when they were executed, is invalid. http://www.gazettenet.com/print/385659
Asset Protection Planning Woes:
An article about our firm: http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120730/GJBUSINESS_01/707309993/-1/FOSBUSINESS
Many thanks to Rubin On Tax for this article: See http://rubinontax.blogspot.com/2012/07/fiduciaries-tagged-under-federal.html
FIDUCIARIES TAGGED UNDER FEDERAL PRIORITY STATUTE
Fiduciaries (trustees, executors, personal representatives) normally are not personally liable for the obligations of the trusts and estates they administer. As mentioned here previously, a major exception to this is the federal priority statute (a/k/a the federal claims statute) under 31 USC §3713(b)/Code § 6901(a)(1)(B). This little gem can create personal liability for a fiduciary that pays out estate or trust assets (including by reason of a distribution to beneficiaries) with knowledge that there are existing federal liabilities (such as taxes) that are unpaid, if the estate or trust is unable to later satisfy those liabilities.
This is not an abstract risk, but a very real liability for fiduciaries, as two fiduciaries learned in a recent case in Texas. In that case, the IRS asserted that a decedent did not pay gift taxes during lifetime, attributable to gifts indirectly made to the decedent. That is, the original donor did not pay the gift taxes on gifts to the decedent, so the decedent was liable for the gift taxes as a transferee. Both the executor of the decedent’s estate, and the trustee of his revocable trust, were knowledgeable of the IRS’ claim but nonetheless paid out funds without making provision for the payment of the gift taxes.
The case is illustrative of various aspects of the statute.
A. The executor was liable for personal property that was distributed to beneficiaries. This is a common problem since by the time the family gets to the lawyers, they have often already made these distributions. This can be a problem under the claim statute, and also state statutes regarding priority of expenses and distributions.
B. The executor was liable for rent payments made by the estate. Such payments are subordinate in priority to the federal claim for taxes.
C. The executor was NOT liable for funeral and last illness expenses. While the federal statute does not on its face allow an exception for these items and other administrative expenses, case law exceptions to these payments exist to the extent they have a priority for payment under state law.
D. The trustee of a revocable trust got caught up in the statute because the trustee was deemed to be the equivalent of a representative of the estate due to the obligation of the trust to pay the decedents debts.
E. The fiduciaries had taken income tax charitable deductions for over $1.1 million that had been set aside to fund charitable bequests. Such bequests were subordinate to the federal claim, so the fiduciaries were held personally liable for those set-aside amounts because the court found that the funds were beyond the reach of the IRS. Presumably, since those set-aside amounts were still held in the trust, the fiduciaries will have direct access to those funds to pay the liability, but perhaps the charities can somehow block that in the same fashion that the IRS and the court found that the IRS did not have access to those funds. In the case, the amount of the other expenditures that created liability for the fiduciaries was minuscule compared to this potential $1.1 million exposure.
F. The fiduciaries were liable for legal and other expenses they paid for the charities. The court noted that payment of legal fees of the estate and trust for administrative purposes are generally not subject to the claim statute, but since these were obligations of third parties then they were not exempt under the statute.
G. The fiduciaries do not have to receive formal notice or a claim from the IRS, to be on notice for purpose of the statute. The court provided:
the knowledge requirement is not actual knowledge. Leigh, 72 T.C. at 1110. It is sufficient to show that the fiduciary had “notice of such facts as would put a reasonably prudent person on inquiry as to the existence of the unpaid claim.” Id. Neither Marshall nor Hilliard contend that they were never told that the IRS might try to make a claim against Stevens for the unpaid gift taxes on the Gift. In fact, they admit that they were both told that the IRS might try to assert a claim against Stevens's Estate for donee liability on the Gift.
H. The fact that the fiduciaries did not believe the IRS’ claim was valid, or that they relied on their professionals, did not relieve them of liability. The court noted:
[T]hey argue that they did not believe the IRS's claim against Stevens was valid for various reasons. But, as the government points out, Marshall and Hilliard's belief in the validity of the government's claim is not the test. Marshall and Hilliard had sufficient notice of the claim to put a reasonably prudent person on notice. It is regrettable that they received incorrect advice on that point, but poor legal advice is not a defense. Despite their belief that the government's claim was not valid, Marshall and Hilliard were required by § 3713 to preserve the funds to pay the government's claim—should it be proved valid.
U.S. v. MACINTYRE, 109 AFTR 2d 2012-XXXX, (DC TX), 06/25/2012
Emergency Link: Free service designed to inform others in the event of an emergency. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303640804577490690701359730.html and http://www.emergencylink.com/
Florida: Attorney Disbarred After Trying to Sell Annuities to Elderly Client . See http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-supreme-court/1597210.html
According to the Florida Supreme Court, an attorney’s activities fall under ethical disclosure rules whenever he participates in a business transaction with a client, even if he’s not a principal (for example, buyer or seller) in the transaction. In The Florida Bar v. Doherty, the Florida Supreme Court disbarred an attorney for attempting to sell annuities to an elderly client without notifying the client in writing that the attorney would receive a commisson in the transaction.
GLBT Estate Planning and Tax News
Windsor v. U.S., a June 6, 2012 decision by the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of NY. It held that the denial of the estate-tax marital deduction to a decedent who was a spouse in a same-sex marriage in NY violated the equal protection clause of the Constitution. The court reasoned that there is no rational basis to exclude same-sex couples from the deduction.
Long-Term Care in the News: Choice of Setting and Financial Considerations
Recent attention in the media has raised important issues about provision of long-term care and the role of families, legal and financial advisors, private long-term care insurance and Medicaid.
1. NPR recently aired a series called "Family Matters," which tracks the balancing act of a family with three generations under one roof. Please find a link to the story below:
2. The Wall Street Journal published a great article on April 7, 2012 demystifying the jargon associated with private long-term care insurance policies. Maine has adopted a Long-Term Care Partnership Plan, allowing early Medicaid (MaineCare) financial qualification while protecting asset levels equal to the amount actually paid out by the insurer if the policy meets certain statutory requirements. See a link to the article ("Don't Grow Old Without It") below:
3. The Diane Rehm Show hosted an call-in program on May 29, 2012 evaluating the costs and benefits of purchasing long-term care insurance, the role of Medicaid and resource considerations--personal, financial and otherwise. As a teaser, each of the panelists discloses whether they have personally purchased long-term care insurance (or plan to) and the reasons for their decisions on this issue.
Want to save $1,730,800? Filing an estate tax return upon the death of your spouse even could save your heirs $1,730,800 (the estate tax equivalent of the $5 million exemption amount) by preserving his or her DSUE (deceased spouse unused exclusion amount) or DSUEA. See http://wills.about.com/b/2011/09/20/how-to-elect-portability-of-the-estate-tax-exemption.htm
Let's Talk About Having Children After Death (that's right, after death) and their entitlement to benefits:
Supreme Court Rules Against Social Security Benefits for Posthumously Conceived Kids. U.S. Supreme Court in Astrue v. Capato. See
Should your estate plan define your "issue" in such a way as to include or exclude posthumously conceived children? If you have cancer or any terminal illness, you might want to consider this. They may (or may not, state law depending under Capato) be entitled to benefits under the Social Security Administration but what about from your estate or trust?
Should your Advance Health Care Directive address the issue of posthumous harvesting of eggs or sperm? For example, should it provide that posthumous donations of organs can include sperm or eggs? I think the answer it "yes". I know it sounds like science fiction folks but there are more than a few cases out there were this is in fact happening.
Giving to Charities - Planning Tip: To avoid pitting a charity against other heirs, generally it is inadvisable to leave a charity a percentage interest in the estate as a bequest under a Will or a Trust (ex. I give 10% of my residuary estate to XYZ charity) if the estate contains assets that are difficult to value. While the charity will be incentivized to argue for higher valuations, those higher valuations will may not benefit the estate as a whole for estate tax purposes or otherwise.
Thought for the day inspired by the following quote:
"As there is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it, so reasonable arguments, challenges to magnanimity, and appeals to sympathy or justice, are folly when we are dealing with human crocodiles and boa-constrictors." William James, Varieties of Religious Experience, a Study in Human Nature.
In the law, and in particular I think with regard to taxes and estate planning, public misunderstandings abound, which is perfectly understandable given the complexity of the Internal Revenue Code and the fact specific circumstances that might exist in one estate but not another. These misunderstandings are circulated, often by well meaning individuals, to others and so on and so forth, creating a host of misconceptions that populate the minds of the general public.
When it comes to planning for your estate or your taxes, avoid relying on assumptions, rumors, speculation or the opinions of untrained friends, neighbors or celebrity personalities that are selling “how to guides” on TV or otherwise. Get the facts and act accordingly.
Neither the IRS nor death suffers fools lightly. Tax filings and death are irrevocable events. Intelligent planning is the only reasonable course of action when dealing with these "crocodiles and boa-constrictors" and all else is probably just folly.
A Time to Sell: Come Jan. 1, the top capital gains rate is set to rise from 15% to 25%. If you want to sell a business or diversify your stock portfolio, do it sooner rather than lathttp://www.forbes.com/forbes/2012/0423/investing-stock-portfolio-peter-richard-schultz-design-time-to-sell.html
Ashlea Ebeling, Forbes Magazine dated April 23, 2012
Why capital gains rates will go up to 25% and not 20% on Jan. 1, 2013
Capital Gains Taxes Are Going Up (Donald Marron in TaxVox). http://www.economics21.org/files/01.26.2012.html
The top tax rate on long-term capital gains is currently 15%. That’s why Mitt Romney is spending so much time talking about his tax returns. That revelation has set off a familiar debate about whether that low rate is appropriate. Often overlooked in these discussions, however, is the fact that the days of the 15% tax rate are numbered. As of this posting, it has only 342 left. On January 1, 2013, capital gains taxes are scheduled to go up sharply. First, the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts are scheduled to expire. If that happens, the regular top rate on capital gains will rise to 20%. In addition, an obscure provision of the tax code, the limitation on itemized deductions, will return in full force. That provision, known as Pease, increases effective tax rates on high-income taxpayers by reducing the value of their itemized deductions. On net, it will add another 1.2 percentage points to the effective capital gains tax rate for high-income taxpayers. And that’s not all. The health reform legislation enacted in 2010 imposed a new tax on the net investment income of high-income taxpayers, including capital gains. That adds another 3.8 percentage points to the tax rate. Put it all together, and the top tax rate on capital gains is scheduled to increase from 15% today to 25% on January 1.
Beneficiary Receiving Trust: Plan to Receive!
If the people you are likely to inherit from are not inclined to work with you to ensure that any inheritance you receive matches your estate planning, tax and/or creditor protection goals, perhaps because they would simply prefer to “keep it simple”, you – as the ultimate beneficiary, may lose out.
However, a receiving trust that captures the assets that otherwise would be distributed to you directly might help resolve some of these problems.
The definition of success-- On the back of a funeral program I recently came across appeared Ralph Waldo Emerson's definition of success, which reads:
"To laugh much; to win respect of intelligent persons and the affections of children; to earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give one's self; to leave the world a little better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm, and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived--this is to have succeeded."
A movie recommendation: If you haven't seen the movie The Descendants, you should. http://www.foxsearchlight.com/thedescendants/. In movie The Descendants, Matt King's estranged wife is in a comma or persistent vegetative state and is not going to recover. When speaking with her doctor, Matt learns that his wife had executed a Living Will or Advance Directive that requires that life support be removed if she is in a comma or persistent vegetative and, in all medical certainty, unlikely to recover. As a result, Matt is able to provide his family and his wife’s friends with a very clear and direct answers as to his wife’s prognosis. Though many characters tell him “she is a fighter, she’ll pull through”, Matt knows that the decision is not his to make; his wife has already made the decision. Consequently, he and his family can begin to really deal with the fact that they are going to lose Mrs. King. In contrast, the family Trust that Matt serves as the Trustee for, which trust holds 25,000 acres of pristine Hawaiian real estate, lacks specific directions as to the proper steps that should be taken with regard to how the land is to be used or when the Trust should be terminated.
What you should take away from this movie: At the very least, after watching this movie one should have some appreication for the fact that Advance Health Care Directives are as important as wealth transfer planning and can have as great an impact on those we leave behind as the wealth we leave them. Advance Health Care Directives provide others (doctors and family alike) directions about your health care wishes, including end of life and organ donation instructions, when you are no longer capable to communicate those choices. Not only can an Advance Health Care Directive preserve your "will" or "intent" regarding these issues but it can also avoid burdening others with making those decisions on others.
IRS Offers New Penalty Relief and Expanded Installment Agreements to Taxpayers under Expanded Fresh Start Initiative. See http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=255312,00.html
" WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced a major expansion of its “Fresh Start” initiative to help struggling taxpayers by taking steps to provide new penalty relief to the unemployed and making Installment Agreements available to more people. Under the new Fresh Start provisions, part of a broader effort started at the IRS in 2008, certain taxpayers who have been unemployed for 30 days or longer will be able to avoid failure-to-pay penalties. In addition, the IRS is doubling the dollar threshold for taxpayers eligible for Installment Agreements to help more people qualify for the program."
Estate tax exemption for 2012: Adjusted for inflation, the federal estate tax exemption amount is now $5,120,000. See Rev. Proc. 2011-52.
Asset protection by adoption in the news: A Florida Millionaire Adopted His 42-Year-Old Girlfriend. Isn’t that Incest? SLATE | FEBRUARY 7, 2012
Happy New Year!
IRS Touts Increase In Audits Of Higher Income Taxpayers: http://www.irs.gov
Portability of estate tax exemptions: http://www.forbes.com/sites/deborahljacobs/2012/01/10/lawyer-parodies-viagra-ads-to-explain-drawbacks-of-tax-break-for-married-couples/
Why review your post nuptial agreement? http://rubinontax.blogspot.com/2011/11/post-nuptial-agreement-trap.html
The Good, the bad and the ugly: December was a busy month for this office but not for the usual reasons. In December we lost a brother (Frederick Alexander Rogers IV, who died on 12-7-2011 (see http://www.seacoastonline.com/articles/20111214-PUBLICRECORDS04-112140351) and gained a son (Arthur Alexander Rogers, born 12-31-2011) within the time span of just over 3 weeks. In true Dickens fashion, December was the best of times and the worst of times. Our take away: Life is uncertain. We can only plan and control so much of what takes place, when it takes place and how it takes place. Sometimes life just happens and, for better or worse, we have to take it as it comes.
Firm Announcement: I am very happy to announce that my wife, Mary Kathryn Brennan, Esq., has joined the firm with an emphasis on Elder Law. Please see the tab above entitled "Mary Kathryn Brennan".
Tick, Tock, Will Congress Speed Up The Gift Tax Clock? - http://rubinontax.blogspot.com/2011/11/tick-tock-will-congress-speed-up-gift.html
What we learned from 5 million books
IRS Clarifies Estate-Tax Rules
THE WALL STREET JOURNAL | OCTOBER 7, 2011; By Laura Saundershttp://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204294504576613381959115342.html
Iraqi Dinar: Scam or the stuff of millionaires?
IRS Releases Instructions for Form 8939, Allocation of Increase in Basis for Property Acquired from Decedent, (Oct. 10, 2011). http://www.irs.gov/formspubs/article/0,,id=218629,00.html
IRS Notice 2011-82 - The IRS plans to issue regulations providing further guidance on the portability election and requests comments. http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=246604,00.html
Office announcements: I am very pleased to announce that Mary Kathryn Brennan will be joining the Law Office of Smilie G. Rogers, PLLC in December of 2011, with a practice focused on elder law. Mary Kathryn Brennan currently is an attorney with Legal Services for the Elderly (http://www.mainelse.org/), where she has been practicing since 2006.
Deaths: On September 3rd Meredith "Dee" Bickmore of York Hospice passed away. Dee will be greatly missed by many. Memorial donations can be made to Hospice of York. http://www.hospiceofyork.com/
Summer in Maine: Here in New England, the summers are short and the winters long and cold, so please excuse the lack of any updates for the month of August.
Powers: A thoughtfully crafted financial power of attorney or power of attorney for health care (health care proxy) can help protect you and your assets. A recent article published in Trusts & Estates magazine (July 2011) by Ruth A. Phelps explores some thoughtful issues on the subject such as: 1) giving one agent financial powers but another agent the power to make residency decisions; 2) authorizing an agent to inform and assist a physician in making a determination about the principal's ability to drive safely; 3) access to digital records, accounts and passwords and the power to open, close or modify the same; 4) protecting against misuse. No link available.
Can Long Term Care Insurance help reduce your estate tax bill? According to a recently published article in Trusts & Estates magazine (July 2011) by Philip T. Davis, if properly structured, indeed it might. No link available.
IRS Removes Two-Year Limit on Equitable Innocent Spouse Relief: IRS announces a change in policy: It is eliminating the two-year time limit on certain new and existing innocent spouse relief requests. Now the IRS will consider requests for equitable relief under Section 6015(f) if the period of limitation on collection of taxes provided by Section 6502 remains open for the tax years at issue. Notice 2011-70. See http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/n-11-70.pdf
Read This Before You Die: Wall Street Journal article published on July 7, 2011. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304793504576430043844930236.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_personalfinance. Need help organizing this information? See my "Day After Guide" under the Resource tab - its free!
York County Courts: Justice G. Arthur Brennan, of the York County Superior Court, to retire and will be "sorely missed". http://www.pressherald.com/news/brennan-to-retire_-be-sorely-missed-_2011-07-06.html
The 25 Documents You Need Before You Die. Wall Street Journal article published on July 2, 2011. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303627104576410234039258092.html. Need help gathering information related to those 25 documents? See my "Day After Guide" under the Resource tab - its free!
Maine Budget Bill Increases Maine Estate Tax Exemption Amount
Maine budget bill LD 1043, having been adopted by both chambers and signed by the Governor, increases the Maine estate tax exemption amount from $1 million to $2 million for deaths occuring on or after January 1, 2013.
Maine Budget Bill Decreases Maine's Top Income Tax Rate
Maine budget bill LD 1043, having been adopted by both chambers and signed by the Governor, reduces the top individual income tax rate from 8.5% to 7.95% for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2013.
Why 2011 and 2012 are ripe for wealth transfer planning:
By Alliance Bernstein, Global Wealth Management. See the following link: https://www.alliancebernstein.com/Instrumentation/White-Papers/Make-2Years-Last-Life-GWM_LTR.pdf
10 Steps to Make Your Kid a Millionaire:
Article appearing in Forbes Magazine June 27, 2011. See the following link: http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2011/0627/money-guide-11-kotlikoff-roth-ira-mutual-fund-kid-millionaire.html
IRS Scrutinizing Real Estate Transfers for Unreported Gifts
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the IRS is undertaking a low profile but extensive review of state land transfer records in an effort to uncover unreported gifts. See the following link:
If you have made gifts of real estate and haven't reported it on a Form 709, you might want to reconsider.
Attorneys in York, Maine serving Maine (York and Cumberland counties including: York, York Beach, Kittery, Kittery Point, Eliot, South Berwick, North Berwick, Berwick, Ogunquit, Wells, Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, Alfred, Lyman, Arundel, Biddeford, Saco, Sanford, Springvale, Acton, Shapleigh, Limerick, Scarborough, and Portland) and Northern Massachusetts (including: Boston, Saugus, Dorchester, Roxbury, Waltham, Beverly, Lynn, Medford, Newbury, West Newbury, Newburyport, Newton, Peabody, Lowell, Lawrence, Andover, Boxford, Amesbury), with a focus on Estate Planning (Wills and Trusts, probate and estate administration), Elder Law, and Tax (estate, gift, and income) matters, and providing general business formation (LLC, Corporations, and General and Limited Partnership) services and business succession planning and real estate services.